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Showcasing a school of diverse creatures

Friday, November 12, 2010

Art teacher Amy Robinson points out parts of a school-wide ceramic mosaic mural project Wednesday afternoon at Deer Meadow Primary School. The mural, titled "A Tribute to The Legacy of Peeler Pottery in Putnam County, Indiana," was funded by a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission's Art in Education program and was inspired by the life and work of Putnam County artist Marj Peeler. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
GREENCASTLE -- When Deer Meadow Primary School art teacher Amy Robinson told her students to come up with ideas for sea creatures for a mural hanging in the school's front foyer, she encouraged them to get creative in celebrating diversity.

"We've got starfish and seahorses and turtles and frogs and squid," she said as she pointed out creatures on the wall.

The project was completed thanks to an Indiana Arts Commission's Art in Education grant program. The opening reception for the mural was held Wednesday afternoon.

"The major idea of the mural is to develop a sense of community both within the school and also within the wider community and building a bridge between the town and the university, between the school and the community and also just celebrating diversity," Robinson said. "Diversity and unity was very important to me."

Each Deer Meadow student in grades kindergarten through second designed and contributed a piece made from earthenware clay and glaze for the mural in a project that started during the spring semester.

Kindergarten students rolled balls of clay and applied texture with stamps made by Marj Peeler to create sand and bubbles while first grade students designed fish, which they cut from a clay slab. Second grade students made "create art" in the form of various aquatic animals and plants drawn from the inspiration of Peeler's studio, Robinson said.

"You can't see it because it's on the back, but each child signed the back of their fish," Peeler said. "I think there are about 100 fish, which is just remarkable."

Peeler gave Robinson some pictures of various fish for inspiration and spoke with students during the spring about the art in her books.

Overall, Peeler said she was impressed with the mural and what it represents.

"In my own life, I never had kindergarten, first or second grade. It's amazing what they (the teachers) can get out of the kids," she said.

DePauw University students in professor Meredith Brickell's "Community Arts" class assisted the students, along with Ryan Blackwell, a fifth-year DePauw student who served as project assistant.

Installation was completed in July by Robinson and Peeler with the help of art educators Vicky Krider and Robin Johnson.

Robinson said what's great about the project is that it supports community partnerships and bonding among students.

"Just the idea that it represents -- it honors every student who did this work and it wasn't a competition, it wasn't a choice thing -- it was everybody," she said. "Everyone was working together to demonstrate the idea of community."

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Mrs. Robinson rocks!

-- Posted by talkymom3 on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 9:59 PM

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